Finance Manager Skills: How To Improve And Highlight Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A finance manager is responsible for handling an organisation's finances and providing financial advice to its upper management. Along with monitoring asset acquisition and allocation to ensure the organisation's financial wellbeing, finance managers use their skills to create financial reports and statements. Learning what skills finance managers use to perform their job well can be the first step towards developing those skills. In this article, we discover the various finance manager skills essential for a successful management career in the financial sector and learn how to improve and highlight them.

What are finance manager skills?

Finance manager skills are those skills that help professionals to oversee and manage all the financial transactions of an organisation. They analyse the organisation's budget, calculate its return on investment, make purchase decisions and hire qualified employees for financial work. Financial managers use statistical spreadsheets and modelling software to analyse available data, provide strategic profit and loss propositions, evaluate cash flow scenarios and forecast future earnings and expenses. They assist the organisation's senior management with overseeing, understanding, complying with and implementing financial contracts.

Related: What Is The Role Of A Financial Manager? A Complete Guide

What are some necessary skills for a finance manager?

Here are some important skills for a finance manager:

Mathematical skills

It is essential for finance managers to have advanced mathematical skills to competently analyse compiled data and work with large amounts of money for an organisation. The mathematical skills they require include mental arithmetic, percentages, algebra, statistics, probability and trigonometry. They need a good understanding of common mathematical concepts, such as net present value, loan payments, remaining principle, cost of capital and ratios. They can also benefit from knowing how to use intuitive reference points to financial results to ensure they make sense.

Analytical skills

Analytical skills help finance managers to identify financial problems, investigate relevant facts and review and analyse all available options to find logical solutions. With these skills, finance managers can interpret data, synthesise information, detect financial patterns and make informed decisions. Analytical skills can also assist them with writing financial contracts, preparing corporate budgets and making profit and loss forecasts.

Problem-solving skills

Financial managers use problem-solving skills to find solutions for problems and issues related to finance. Their problem-solving skills can aid them with analysing budgets, calculating investment risks and finding effective ways to reach the organisation's financial goals. They have a deep understanding of the company's financial goals and can find effective ways to meet those goals without jeopardising the business.

Attention to detail

Attention to detail is crucial for finance managers, as they work with numbers. It is necessary for them to ensure accuracy in various financial transactions. Their work involves keeping records of how the organisation earns a profit and monitoring its financial spending and asset accumulation. They study the necessary legal points in national and international regulations and ensure that the organisation's work contracts comply with those.

Organisational skills

Along with being attentive to detail, finance managers can benefit from being well-organised in their work. They often access, check and use numerous financial statements, records, contracts, spreadsheets, calculations and projections. The ability to properly organise those financial documents is crucial for finance managers, as it helps them find and retrieve those documents as needed.

Technical skills

Most finance managers use various computer programmes and applications in their work. It is necessary for them to be proficient in using basic and advanced spreadsheet features, accounting software, enterprise resource planning software, business analytics and reporting software. They also require knowledge of tax preparation software, database management software and the ability to prepare financial statements, like income statements, cash flow statements and balance sheets.

Communication skills

Excellent verbal, written and listening communication skills can help finance managers discuss complex financial information with the organisation's management and personnel. These skills can also enable the finance manager to adjust their communication style to suit the audience they are addressing. They can explain difficult financial analyses and formulas in an easy-to-understand manner to people who may not be knowledgeable about financial matters.

Interpersonal skills

In their work, finance managers may interact and collaborate with numerous individuals. They may lead finance teams, oversee financial activities and communicate with various departments in the organisation. Strong interpersonal skills can assist them in assessing people and developing a good relationship with them. They can then motivate them to be accurate and efficient in their work performances and complete projects on time.

Leadership skills

Leadership skills can help finance managers delegate tasks, monitor the work of team members, provide guidance and check reports, statements and spreadsheets for accuracy. Good financial managers take charge of situations and form effective solutions to encourage trust in their leadership skills. They know how to enhance efficiency and productivity while maintaining confidence in their ability to move the company forward.

Ability to work independently

Finance managers usually report to the senior management of the organisation, but they often work without frequent supervision. As accomplished financial professionals, they understand the organisation's financial goals and know which tasks to pursue to meet those goals. They know how to set work schedules, prioritise tasks and finish them on time.

Related: Build A Career In Finance By Applying One Of These 12 Jobs

How to improve finance manager skills

Finance managers can benefit career-wise from regularly updating their financial knowledge and skills. It may enable them to advance to work positions with more responsibilities and higher salaries. Here are some suggestions you might want to consider:

1. Update technical knowledge

Nearly all financial work now requires a knowledge of computer software and applications. You can discover which programmes are most in-demand in the industry by regularly checking finance manager job advertisements. After noting down the ones you do not know, you can take short online courses to learn to use them. Continually gaining new technical knowledge ensures that you continue to grow as a professional and enjoy your work.

2. Get an advanced finance degree

If you have a bachelor's degree in finance, you can consider getting a master's degree in a related field, and if you have a master's degree, you can plan on completing a doctorate. Higher education can improve your knowledge of finance and improve your career prospects. With an advanced degree in finance, you can explore different career avenues and be eligible for senior positions with higher salaries in your organisation.

3. Earn a finance certificate

You can improve your finance skills and gain professional recognition by completing various certification programmes. Some of the top programmes to consider are:

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

  • Chartered Accountant (CA)

  • Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM)

  • Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

  • Certified Fund Specialist (CFS)

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

  • Certified Treasury Professional (CTP)

  • Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA)

  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

4. Choose a speciality

Focusing on a specific financial speciality can help improve the skills of a finance manager in that area. You can choose to specialise in insurance, risk management, forecasting, personal finance, international finance, cash flow performances, investments, financial statement analysis, statistics, investment banking and other niche categories. The specialisation can improve your career prospects.

Related: How Much Does A Financial Manager Make? (With Work Duties)

How finance managers can highlight their skills

You can highlight your financial management skills and qualities in your cover letter, resume and job interview to increase your chances of getting a finance job. Here are a few tips:

Include your skills in the cover letter

Many employers skim through cover letters first and then consider if they want to check the resumes. By highlighting your finance skills and experience in the cover letter, you can get their attention, demonstrate your financial competency and persuade them to read your resume. You can let them understand how your financial skills can benefit them by mentioning your proven ability to strengthen market positions, improve cash flow, minimise risk and increase customer satisfaction.

List finance manager skills on your resume

You can include a summary of your financial knowledge and qualifications at the top of your resume and provide more details below in bullet points. Employers can glance at the list and get an immediate idea of your capabilities. You can make headings such as tax planning, budgeting, accounting and cash flow management and provide details of the exact tasks you accomplished. For instance, you can mention that you are proficient in financial modelling, identifying investment opportunities and creating salary forecasts.

Related: How To List Certifications On A Resume (With Examples)

Mention your skills during a job interview

Interviewers may ask you to present practical evidence of your understanding of various financial tools and management techniques. You can compile a list of frequently asked interview questions and practise thoughtful responses to those. Expand on your reply with a case study of how your business research or analysis saved the organisation from investing in a risky endeavour or helped increase its profit margins.

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